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Published in CenterView on August 16, 2010

Ceremony honors Evers's contributions to UMMC

By Matt Westerfield

Jan Magee Evers and her late husband, Dr. Carl G. Evers, have a long history with the University of Mississippi Medical Center that stretches back to 1956. In the decades since, the couple has provided more than service and health care at the Medical Center: they have left a legacy of charitable giving that continues to grow.

On hand to honor Jan M. Evers were Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, Susan Clark, Rowland Medical Library director, Dr. Helen Turner, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, Evers, retired School of Nursing faculty member, medical student Claire Brabec, president of the Carl G. Evers, M.D. Society, and Dr. Kim Hoover, interim dean of the School of Nursing.
On hand to honor Jan M. Evers were Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, Susan Clark, Rowland Medical Library director, Dr. Helen Turner, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, Evers, retired School of Nursing faculty member, medical student Claire Brabec, president of the Carl G. Evers, M.D. Society, and Dr. Kim Hoover, interim dean of the School of Nursing.

Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, honored the couple for their contributions to the Medical Center in a ceremony Aug. 12 at the Rowland Medical Library.

A native of Tylertown, Jan Evers first came to UMMC in 1956 after taking pre-nursing courses at the University of Mississippi. After receiving her bachelor's degree in nursing in 1960, she married "a handsome resident from Minnesota."

Raised on a dairy farm in the heartland, Dr. Evers earned his M.D. at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, then moved to Jackson for residency training in pathology. While his wife worked in a nursing supervisor role for 15 years, he worked his way up to professor of pathology and associate dean for academic affairs.

"He was very interested in the politics of organized medicine and became the first president of the (Mississippi) State Medical Association," Jan Evers said. "He was just a real leader in organized medicine and an outstanding professor all that time."

In 1975, Jan Evers joined the faculty of the School of Nursing shortly after she earned her master's degree, and she was named the associate dean of continuing education after establishing the school's first continuing education program.

Throughout those years, the couple had three children: Karen, Julie and Gus (Carl Jr.). Tragically, Dr. Evers died following a bicycle accident in 1992.

Jan Evers described her husband as loyal and dedicated to UMMC. She said he also was very involved in his community and church.

After her husband's death, Jan Evers worked to establish the Carl G. Evers M.D. Scholarship, awarded yearly to medical students, and the Jan Evers Faculty Fellowship Research Award at the School of Nursing. She also has contributed to the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children and has lent her support to the Carl G. Evers Society.

"The School of Nursing is grateful for the continued support Mrs. Evers has provided," said Dr. Kim Hoover, interim dean of the School of Nursing. "As a previous recipient of the Jan Magee Evers Faculty Research Award, I know firsthand Mrs. Evers' commitment to fostering nursing research and to the school."

For her latest contribution, Jan Evers is gifting her husband's medical library to UMMC's Rowland Medical Library - 107 leather-bound volumes accented in gold leaf that range from Old English texts to the writings of Hippocrates.

Jeanette Waits, who retired as a professor of nursing in 1994, said she met Jan Evers in nursing school and the two have remained friends. She said her work in developing the school's continuing education program was pioneering.

"I thought she brought a lot of quality and class to our continuing education offering," she said.

Waits met Dr. Evers and said the couple was very active in recruiting new faculty for both schools.

"They were very devoted to the Medical Center," she said.

Jan Evers, who retired in 1993, said she had quite an interesting career at the Medical Center.

"I was supervisor of the house during the first heart and lung transplant," she said, adding that she also weathered Hurricane Camille and several tornados. "I had just had a baby when the tornado hit Candlestick," she said.

The so-called Candlestick Park Tornado left a 200-mile path of destruction across Mississippi and into Alabama in 1966. When Evers was called in to help triage patients, she said she didn't have a uniform that would fit.

"They said, 'You can wear a lab coat,'" Evers recalled. "There was never a dull moment at the Medical Center, I assure you."